Author Archives: choosechi

Should I hire a contractor

If you are debating on whether or not to hire a contractor, it is safe to assume you have found a project around the house that you want to update.  Some projects may be a great fit for you if you are handy but maybe you don’t have the time.  Or perhaps you have the time but your spouse doesn’t feel like you are handy.

From a remodeling contractor’s perspective – this is when you should definitely hire a contractor:

When your project requires multiple trades

You might be handy, but would you feel comfortable remodeling your kitchen which includes setting tile, installing cabinets and baseboards, drywalling, texturing, painting, installing plumbing fixtures, adding electrical fixtures and running gas lines?    This is what we mean by multiple trades…..if you are not comfortable performing each of the trades required for your project, or you are not sure what the sequence order is for performing the remodel – you should hire a contractor.

When you do not understand the remodeling process

If you have to go online to research how to install a faucet, that is not a big deal and probably something you can handle on your own.  When you have to research online how to obtain permits, you should hire a contractor.

When you have a hard deadline

If you need to have your bathroom remodeled in time for the big holiday party you have planned, you may want to hire a contractor.  If you have never remodeled a bathroom then you will not have a good grasp on how long the process will take.  Working efficiently is key to getting a project completed in a timely manner.

When you do not have time

Acting as your own general contractor and hiring trades to come in and complete the remodel for you may sound like an easy task and a way to save money.  We caution you against this, specifically if you do not have a construction background (doing handyman work around the house does not count).  Also, if you do not have all day every day to spend on managing your project, we highly recommend you hire a contractor.  If you think finding and interviewing one contractor is time consuming, how long do you think it will take to find and interview 10 contractors for your major remodel?  Tack on purchasing your material, coordinating the schedule for the installers, and keeping track of payments to sub-contractors and you will have a full time job!

What kind of contractor should I hire?

Sometime the question really isn’t “should I hire a contractor”, but “what kind of contractor should I hire?”

There are different types of contractors and it is important you understand the difference before reaching out to get estimates.

Specialty Trade Contractors:

These are contractors whose licenses are specific to one trade.  For example, a plumber is not trained or licensed to do drywall work.  A roofer is not trained or licensed to do stucco work.  If you have a garbage disposal that is backed up or broken, you would call a plumbing contractor because that is their specialty trade – plumbing.  If you would like to upgrade your electrical panel, you would call an electrician.

General Contractors – Sole Ownership:

General contractors have been trained and have all the skills necessary to perform any home remodeling service.  This does not mean they should.  General contractors who self-perform all the work have the basic knowledge necessary to complete your remodel, but they are not specialized in any one specific trade.

General Contractors – Corporation:

General Contractors who are a corporation are more established and larger organizations than a sole ownership.  Corporations are responsible for hiring, firing, and coordinating subcontractors and their installation schedule.  Many times they offer design services (most sole ownership contractors do not offer this option).  They also coordinate delivery and installation of finish materials (many sole ownership general contractors require the homeowners to take on this task).  All liability for injuries and property damage are the responsibility of your contractor (this is true whether you work with a sole ownership contractor or a corporation contractor)

Once you decide what type of project you are trying to accomplish, take a good hard look at your schedule and your finances before deciding whether or not to tackle a remodeling project on your own.  If you decide you want to hire a contractor, take the time to make sure you reach out to the correct type of contractor for your specific remodeling project.

How to Find a Remodeling Contractor

As a remodeling contractor, it is important for us to know how potential customers go about finding a contractor for their home remodeling projects.  To find out,  we frequently ask homeowners how they found us.  Alternatively, if we lose a project (cant win ’em all!) to a competitor we will ask the homeowner how they found the contractor they did hire.  There are a few of the tried and true methods of finding a contractor, but we are surprised at some of the other methods people find their remodeling contractor and we thought we would share those with you (along with some possible pros and cons)

Family, Friends, and Neighbors (Referrals)

Personally, we love when we get a phone call from a homeowner saying they were referred to us by their family, neighbor, or friend.  A referral means we did a great job, our prices were reasonable, and they felt confident we would take care of the person they referred to us.  Is there a downside to hiring a referral? There are a lot of remodeling companies who fizz out after a few years in business so it is imperative to verify they are currently licensed, insured, and have positive current references. Sometimes we refer other remodeling contractors because a homeowner requests a project that is out of our scope but the first thing we say is “check their current license and insurance information on the CSLB website and always check out their reviews.”.

Better Business Bureau

There is an accreditation system that businesses have to go through to with the BBB.  Not all businesses are accredited so that is something to be aware of.  Accreditation means the remodeling contractor has proven to be in business for over 12 months.  The remodeling company has to prove they are properly licensed and insured.  The renovation company also has to have a full audit of their marketing materials to ensure the marketing material is ethical and within BBB standards (to prevent false advertising).   There are strict compliance factors that the renovation companies have to adhere to in order to maintain accreditation with the BBB and companies are audited yearly.  You can read more about the accreditation standards with the BBB, but we believe the BBB is a solid place to find a remodeling contractor.

Angie’s List

In the last few years, we have had a positive experience with Angie’s List and would recommend their services as a way to find a reputable contractor.  Here is what you need to know about Angie’s List.  Yes, contractors can pay to advertise with Angie’s List but the advertisements have nothing to do with the ratings you see for the company.  Advertisement costs that remodelers pay are for Pay-Per-Click type advertising and print advertising.  Only the highest rated contractors can advertise with Angie’s List (“B” rating and higher).

Angie’s List is diligent about verifying reviews that are submitted for companies are from actual clients of the company, which means you are seeing real reviews from real people.  Recently we have found some advertisements saying to purchase “HER” list.  As of August 2016, Angie’s List is free to the consumers.  Will this change our opinion of Angie’s List?  We don’t think so – as long as they continue to verify the reviews are from real clients.

Home Magazines

Oh my gosh, what to say about Home Magazines.  Are they a good way to find a remodeling contractor?  Sure.  There are tons of folks who advertise in print magazines (our company, included).  We want to advise you to be aware of what is called a “leader ad”.  Leader ads are meant to grab your attention.  “$5995 for a Kitchen Remodel!” Sounds great, right?  From a contractor’s point of view – absolutely unrealistic.  Leader ads are meant to get you to stop in your tracks and make a call.  Are they effective?  Of course.  Are they realistic?  Absolutely not.  It is kind of like when you are looking for a car and they advertise ONE car at that amazingly discounted rate, either the car doesn’t exist or it is a used car.  Look for the astrick (*) which will tell you what they are hiding in that big print that is meant to grab your attention.

Yelp

I’m just going to come out and say it, I am not a Yelp fan (for the remodeling industry).  The problem with Yelp is there is no verification process of whether or not the person writing the review actually did the work with the remodeling company.

If you are going to use Yelp as a method of finding a contractor, or verifying their references/reviews – we HIGHLY suggest you take it with a grain of salt.  Don’t just look at the “stars” and move on.  Read what the person actually writes.  We have been given a 1 or 2 star because the customer could not afford our services, which has nothing to do with our remodeling services actually performed.

Another thing to look out for when using Yelp:   if you see a company who has dozens of reviews written day after day and they are all raving about the company, stop and think – how did they get that many reviews that quickly?  With no verification process, we have found companies frequently create their own reviews to pump up their ratings.

True story:  we had a review written on our page from someone who was trying to review a burger joint.  We alerted him and he tried to remove the review, but could not figure out how to remove it.  It was a great review, but it did not apply to our business.  So in closing, we highly recommend using a method OTHER THAN Yelp to find a professional remodeling contractor (and use Guild Quality to check out references for remodeling companies, rather than Yelp).

Internet Searches (google,yahoo, etc)

The internet is the method most often used by homeowners to find a remodeling contractor.  The internet is a great resource for finding remodeling contractors.  The only recommendation we have during an internet search is to be VERY wary of giving out your information on line, especially if it is not linked directly to the contractor you want to speak with.  If you have never done this before, here is what it looks like:  You enter your contact information online and within 5 minutes your phone is ringing off the hook.  Your will receive 3-5 calls per day for 2 weeks from contractors who have received your information online.

Home Advisor

Home Advisor is a method used by many remodeling contractors to get “leads” on homeowners who are looking to remodel their home.  Homeowners do not pay for this service, but contractors do.  So if you sign up to receive calls from contractors, you better believe your phone is going to be ringing!

The company does a great job of pre-qualifying contractors to make sure their license and insurance is current and valid.  Homeowners who use Home Advisor are given the opportunity to review the contractor upon completion of the projects, and unlike Yelp, the reviews are verified to be posted by actual clients.

Social Media

Social Media has been an up and coming way to find remodeling contractors.  You may see ads on your Facebook or Instagram feed which highlight local remodeling companies trying to earn your business.  Social Media is a great way to view a company from a different light.  Many remodeling contractors will share photos and videos of actual projects they have completed.  They may highlight their employees or events they participate in with the community.  In our opinion, Social Media is a great way to “get to know” a remodeling company before inviting them in to your home.  Be aware that Social Media does not require remodeling companies to verify their license or insurance so you will (always) need to check that on your own.

Home Shows and Street Fairs

Home Shows and Street Fairs are still a popular way to find a remodeling contractor in San Diego.  There are several events yearly through-out different cities within San Diego.  You will find a wide range of contractors at events such as these.  Home Shows are a great way to find new products but we have found that many Home Shows and Street Fairs have lead generators manning the booths which means you are not speaking with a contractor, but only a person who is there to gather contact information to schedule appointments.  That is not necessarily a bad thing, but be aware of who you are speaking with.  Ask them if they are an estimator, a designer, or if they are just trying to set appointments.  Be wary of giving out your information because if you give out your phone number, you will receive phone calls (imagine that!).

 

There are so many was to find a contractor for your remodeling project, hopefully you have found this list insightful (from a contractor’s perspective). As always, be sure to verify the contractor’s license, insurance, and referrals before signing any contracts.

 

Ideas For a Luxury Spa Bathroom Remodel

If your goal is to create a luxury spa master bathroom, there are certain elements you should consider adding in to your remodel.   Here are a few ideas for you to ponder and discuss with your designer:

Soaking Tubs:

There are so many options with soaker tubs!   They can have whirlpools and lights.  They can be be clawfoot cast iron or acrylic.  They can be drop-in. Regardless of what type of soaking tub you decide you want in your elegant bathroom, the point is they are a must have in a luxury spa-like bathroom remodel.

Steam Showers:

Tile Steam Shower - Bathroom Designers San Diego CA

Steam showers are wonderful to have. These large walk in showers can have up to one or more shower heads for your shower needs and a large seating bench to soak up and enjoy the steam. You can also gain several benefits from having a steam shower. Steam bathing improves breathing and opens up nasal passages. Steam showers are also great for the skin and can relieve acne conditions, open up pores, hydrates and lubricates the skin.

Rain or Waterfall Shower Heads:

There is nothing more relaxing than a nice rain shower head or a waterfall stream pouring down on your. The steady stream of water can be relaxing. While water pressure isn’t strong in rain shower heads, they are mostly installed and used for relaxation purposes.

Saunas: 

Elegant Sauna - Interior Designers La Jolla CA

If you don’t want your walk in shower to be a steam shower, most people opt to use another space and install a sauna in their bathrooms.  If you have a home gym this is the perfect asset to have in your home.

Vessel sinks:

Vessel sinks look amazing in any shape or size. They give your bathroom a regal feel to it. Vessel sinks come in all shapes, sizes or colors so if you have a specific theme in mind, there will be a vessel sink to accommodate your ideas.

Accessories:  

We know that themes and products can truly make a space unique so we hope some of these ideas land in your spa bathroom remodel.

Towel Warmers:

Imagine getting out of a nice shower and you grab your towel and it’s nice and warm and snuggly. Towel warmers are one of those items in a bathroom remodel you may not find necessary but if you are after that spa feeling you may feel like you need. Never wrap yourself around a cold towel again.

Bluetooth Shower Head:  Bluetooth technology is starting to sweep the nation and is starting to get more integrated into our everyday products. There are now Bluetooth shower heads that you can connect to your phone so you can shower with your favorite music.

However you decide to remodel your bathroom, know that there are so many things you can do to create the space you are envisioning!  All you really need to know is how you want to feel in your bathroom and a designer can help you reach your goal.  As you can see, accessories make a huge difference in the final outcome of your project so do not forget to add them in as a final touch!

 

Show Off Your Cabinets With These Hardware Options

 

When you decided you wanted to remodel your kitchen or bathroom, we seriously doubt the hardware options were first on your list to purchase!  Some homeowners like to skip hardware altogether but for those of you who want to add kitchen hardware to your cabinets, here are a few style options to consider.

tubular-bar-pulls

Tubular Bar Pulls

This is the current trend in kitchen pulls because of its modern look. Shaker doors in kitchens of various colors have these pulls. You can get these in various lengths, the longer tubes can look very dramatic This can give your kitchen a modern look.

flat-bar-pulls

Flat Bar Pulls

This is also a current trend we are seeing in kitchen remodels. It’s hard to pinpoint what we see more flat bar pulls or tubular pulls. These flat pulls look fantastic in polished nickel and in a way adds a modern glamorized look to the kitchen.  These pulls work well with various colored cabinets and can give your kitchen a contemporary edge.

traditional-nickel

Traditional Nickel

Shaker cabinets are simple cabinets and it doesn’t matter what color they are traditional nickel is a great modern choice. The great thing about traditional nickel is that is a versatile door style so you it looks great with any finish or pull.  If you pick a vintage style pull it can look great in traditional nickel. This can give your kitchen a retro feel.

accented-wire-pull

Accented Wire Pulls

This type of pull can be seen in kitchens with a country cottage feel. Wire pulls come in various styles and looks and can be very specific in detail. They can look very elegant and they do add a traditional flair to your remodel.

arced-and-footed-bar

Arced and Footed Bar

If the look you are going for is classic, then you may want to pick these pulls up. They go by various names but the look decorative and can be mixed and matched with various door styles and finishes. The do add more of a traditional and decorate element to your kitchen.

Glass Pulls

Vintage Glass or Ceramic Knobs

Vintage glass style pulls and knobs are trend goes back to the depression area. This is a classic choice that is more notoriously seen on bathroom vanities. This knob choice is vintage and if you want your kitchen to have that feel add them to your cabinets. Ceramic knobs can look very beautiful in a kitchen but make sure you coordinate the rest of your choices. This can give your kitchen a historical or Victorian look.

vintage-pulls

Vintage pulls with exposed screws

This probably a trend you remember this back in the 70s or 80s, the brass pull with exposed screws. These pulls come in various colors such as oil-rubbed bronze. This look can look great if you are going for a rustic feel in your kitchen. This can give your kitchen a utilitarian or industrial hair.

We know that these are a lot of options but remember to stick to the theme and style of your kitchen. Don’t add a vintage handle to a modern style kitchen!

How do I find out if my contractor is licensed?

If you are looking to do a remodel on your home, it is imperative you research your contractor to verify the validity of their license.  We have been in construction and remodeling for over 25 years and it is shocking to us the stories we have heard about contractor scams!  Educating our customers is a high priority for us and for that reason we want to share with you how to check the validity of a contractor and their associated license.

 

Step 1:

Go to www.cslb.ca.gov

Step 2:

If you know the contractor’s license – you can enter it on the right hand side of the page.  Alternatively, if you do not know the contractor’s license, there is a link for you to do a search by company name or by the license holder’s name.

Step 3:

Review the Business Name to ensure it matches any information you have been given including website, contracts, and any marketing material (business cards, brochure, etc).  Some companies use a dba (doing business as) and in that case, the dba will be noted on the CSLB website.

Step 4:

Some contractors use a mailing address.  Others have their physical location noted on the CSLB website.  Find out if the address listed on the CLSB is a physical location or a mailing address.  Compare the address and phone number on the CSLB website to any marketing materials (contracts, business cards, brochures) given to you by the contractor.

Step 5:

Take note of whether the company is listed as a sole proprietor, LLC, or corporation.  Typically a sole proprietor is a “mom and pop” shop.  We are of the opinion that the most legitimate organizations are corporations.

Step 6:

Review the issue date, re-issue date, and expiration date.  You are checking to see if you feel comfortable with the length of time the company has been in business as well as when the license expires.

Step 7:

There is a section called License status.  You will want this to say “current and active”.  If it says anything other than that, you will want to question whether you want to pursue the relationship with this contractor.

Step 8:

Review the Classifications.  A “B General Contractor” is licensed for all trades in remodeling.  All other licenses are for specific trades (ie:  Electrical, framing, etc).  If you are working on a large remodel project, you will want to work with a “B General Contractor” because any other contractor is not qualified or licensed to do multiple trades.

Step 9:

Bonding information.  Verify all information is current and active.

Step 10:

Verify Workers Compensation is active and current

Step 11:

Personnel List.  In our minds, this is a BIGGIE!  Anyone who is in your home presenting you with an estimate for your home remodel is required to have a HIS card (or be the license holder for the company).  Sometimes it can take a while to get the names loaded on the website, but any person in your home should have an active HIS card (provided by the state of California) or should be the owner of the company. Do not be afraid to ask for this information – the HIS card is issued by the state after diligent background checks, this is a step that is taken to ensure your personal safety.

One way to find out if you are working with a legitimate contractor is to ask who you will be writing out checks to.  Is it the name of the company or the name of the person standing in front of you? A legitimate company will ALWAYS have you write out a check to the business name, not an individual.

There is very little recourse available if you hire an unlicensed contractor to do work on your home and they do poor quality work or break the contract.  Many times homeowners insurance will not cover any injuries or damage if the work was completed by an unlicensed contractor.  Additionally, if you are working with an unlicensed contractor you have no way of knowing if they have a criminal background.  Protect yourself and your home by doing your homework before hiring a contractor for your remodeling project!

Why Do Contractors Take So Long

Have you ever had a home remodel completed and wondered why the project took so long?  Or are you considering remodeling and are concerned about how long the project will take?  Most people only consider the time spent in the house doing the actual labor.  There is actually quite a bit that happens behind the scenes of a major remodel which you may be interested in learning about.

Accounting

When a job is awarded, there is a lot of paperwork that has to take place.  Accounting files have to be compiled and entered into a database.  Pay schedules have to be entered into accounting software.  Folders are created and distributed to various team members which include details about the scope of work.

Design

Measurements have to be taken of the existing space.  Detailed CAD drawings are drawn, which are used to tell the installers where, how high, and which direction to install the products which will be installed in your home.

Permits

Waiting for permits is never fun and can take several weeks sometimes, depending on the city.

Product Selection

Product selection has to be completed by the homeowner.  Once everything is ordered, the wait time begins for all the material to show up.  Most contractors will not start a project until all the material has been delivered to reduce the construction time spent in the home.

Purchasing Department

The purchasing department coordinates schedules to make sure installers are available to start and complete the project without stopping.

Internal Coordination Meetings

Your contractor will have several internal coordination meetings to ensure the project runs smoothly.  Accounting, purchasing, design, and project managers meet more than 3 times during your project.   They will discuss the scope of work and coordination of laborers, layouts and designs, and confirm all applicable permits and inspections have been received, as well as confirm all materials are ordered and received in the correct quantities.

Demolition

Demo is actually pretty quick, we admit it.

Installation

The installation timeline depends on what the scope of work is in the home.  Tile will take longer to install than carpeting, for example.  Also, if you have a contractor who is using specialized trades in a small space, it may take a little longer to complete the installation because, for example, it can be difficult to have 2 installers in a small hall bathroom working on two projects at the same time (ie:  your electrician and plumber).   If it is a larger home remodel, it is easier (and quicker) to have multiple trades working throughout different areas of the home.

Inspections

Inspections are scheduled by the city who performs them.  Your contractor does not have control over when they will show up.  Most times your contractor is given a 4 hour window that the inspector will show up.  In addition, some home remodel projects require several inspections.

“Pick up”

Pick up lists or customer service lists are created by the contractor and the homeowner towards the end of the project.  Pick up does not take long, but sometimes it can take homeowners a while to decide what they want touched up, if anything.

Just like any other industry, the remodeling industry has many steps, stages, and people involved.  You may be surprised to know that there can be up to 10 installers in your home during a remodel and behind the scenes are another 10 individuals working to make sure the project runs smoothly.  When you consider the coordination that takes place to make sure your remodel is completed quickly with quality workmanship, the process is pretty intriguing.

How to keep frustrations to a minimum during your kitchen remodel

We equate remodeling to pregnancy.  At first you are cautious, then you are optimistic. Eventually you are scared then you are uncomfortable.  You get frustrated and anxious toward the end and then you have a beautiful baby, I mean, kitchen.

Kitchen remodeling (and any other major remodel) can be stressful.  You and your family will have to make tough decisions about who to select as your contractor and how much you want to invest in your remodel.  You will have to make timely decisions about the design aspect of your kitchen remodel.    To top it off, your home will have little privacy as contractors and installers build your new kitchen.

Sometime in the middle of your project you are going to get frustrated.  It happens to everyone and it is because of the high level of stress you are encountering during construction.  You will want the job to be over and you will want to take out your frustration on someone.

As a customer (or potential customer) of Classic Home Improvements, we wanted to give you some information and tips for you to refer back to when you have those moments of frustration.

  • HGTV versus Real-World Renovations:  When it comes time to select your material (or your contractor), do not expect to pay the prices you are seeing on HGTV.  Most of the material featured on reality television is featured by advertisers who severely discount their material to networks as an advertising method.  Also, do not expect your remodel to be completed in a weekend. Reality television shows are for entertaining purposes, please do not use them for information gathering, you will be sorely disappointed if you do.
  • Homeowner Communication:  There will be over 100 moving parts in your remodel.  You will have no less than 20 people involved in your remodel.  Communication is imperative during your remodel but the key element is not that you communicate – it is that you communicate with the correct person.   You will be designated a project manager and it is absolutely critical that 100% of your communication is with your project manager to ensure your project is completed smoothly.
  • Keeping Informed by your Project Manager:    We have the benefit of working in the industry so we understand what is happening behind the scenes of your remodel.  Our goal is to keep you informed of what is happening every day during construction because we do not want you to think “nothing is happening” if you come home one day and it looks like nothing has changed. You will get daily updates of your project via email or text, we encourage you to interact with us if you have a concern.  You should never have to wonder “what happened today”.
  • Let Us Do Our Job:  We have found that most times when homeowners get frustrated during their remodel it is because they are trying to manage their own project.  We encourage you NOT to try to do that.  Reading articles online about construction, working as a handyman, and watching HGTV does not make you a contractor.   Think about it, when you go to your mechanic do you tell him how to fix your brakes or do you instruct a surgeon how to stitch you back up?  We are the professionals you hired to remodel your kitchen, let us do our job.  When you selected Classic Home Improvements to build your kitchen remodel, there had to be a specific reason.  We ask customers why they hired us and typically the response is that we were professional, we were responsive, or we had great referrals.  If and when you get frustrated we ask that you remember why you hired us.
  • We are not done until we say we are done:  Construction is a lengthy process and needs to be completed in a very specific sequence to ensure it is completed properly.  We encourage you to ask questions if you are truly worried about something, but we need to remind you not to try to manage your own project, that is why you hired us.  If something looks unfinished that is because it is unfinished.  We are not done until we say we are done. Trust us to complete your project in the sequence it needs to be completed in.  We want your job to be completed just as much as you do and we expect the same high quality of work you do.
  • This still isn’t done:    I know, I am repeating here.  We are not done until we say we are done.  Here is what you need to know:  once we have everything just about wrapped up, your project manager will walk the project on his own to create what we call a “pick up list”.  These are items that are not to our standards and need to be fixed or completed by our installers.  Once our internal pick up list is completed, we will invite you to meet with us at the project to point out any concerns you have.  Any items on your list of concerns that we agree are not to industry standards (or our high standards) we will fix for you.
  • We say we are done:  Now, we are done!  We pride ourselves on our high level of workmanship and we are pretty confident you are going to love your finished remodel. We will invite you back at your home to meet with our project manager and confirm we are completed.  At confirmation of completion we will ask for our final payment and have you sign final completion paperwork.
  • Feedback is important:  Classic Home Improvements is dedicated to continually improving our processes and procedures.  Employees and vendors are directly affected by reviews which name them personally and for that reason they are dedicated to providing the best possible customer service.  We have grown leaps and bounds above our competitors in customer satisfaction because we listen to our feedback and make adjustments based on them.  We will ask for you to respond a 3rd party, Guild Quality, when they reach out to you for a review of our services.  It will take you only 5 minutes but will make a huge impact on our organization.

How to prepare for a bathroom remodel

Once you have selected and ordered all your finish material, you will get an estimated date of delivery.  Upon receipt of all the material and inspection to confirm it is all in one piece and has arrived in its entirety, your contractor will give you a start date for construction.  It is imperative you are ready for construction the day that your demo crew arrives.  What do you need to do to prepare?  Here are some tips:

Entry way

Please relocate any shoes or shoe racks placed by the door.  They are a tripping hazard during construction.  Also, if you have anything on the walls which could be damaged by brushing up against them, please remove them temporarily to protect them.

Hallways

Clear all hallways.  The floors will need to be completely open to avoid tripping hazards therefore it is important to remove any rugs.  Your flooring will be protected by plastic.  Remove anything hanging on the walls including shelving, pictures, artwork, and clocks to avoid being accidentally brushed into and knocked off the walls.

Adjacent Rooms

During your bathroom remodel tools will be used which cause vibrations.  For that reason, walls adjacent to the bathroom will need to have all shelving, clocks, photos, and artwork removed.   In addition, if you anything against the wall such as a china hutch, we respectfully request that you move those away from the walls to avoid potential damage from the vibrations caused during your remodel.

Bathroom Space

  • Remove everything you want to keep from your bathroom.  Anything not removed from the bathroom will be considered trash.  This means if you want to keep your towel rings, towel racks, shelving, pictures, photos, etc – you need to take them off the walls.
  • Remove any shower curtains, rods, and shower curtain rings.
  • Take out any plants.
  • Remove everything from the bathroom including the shower curtain and anything inside of your bathtub or shower.
  • Clean your toilet.  This is more of a courtesy than anything.  Your contractor will need to remove the toilet, wouldn’t it be nice if the toilet was clean for the installer to remove?
  • Clean your shower and tub.  Again, this is more of a courtesy than anything else.
  • Clear out your cabinets and medicine cabinet.  Again, anything not removed will be considered trash.
  • Take out any rugs. They are a hazard and we would not want to damage any rugs during the remodel, especially if you intend to keep them.
  • Remove your trash can.  We will not use your trash cans so go ahead and place them in a secure place.

We might suggest closing as many doors as possible each day to avoid the spread of dust, which is inevitable during your remodel.

Watch the progress!

We understand you are investing a pretty penny into your remodel.  You want it to be perfect.  We do too!  Just a couple of notes for you:

  • Trust Us:   You hired us because you had confidence that we are the professionals, that we know construction better than you do.  You hired us because you trusted us with your home.  You hired us because you did not want to manage your remodel.  So we ask you to continue to trust us while we complete the construction phase of your project.  With that being said, if you have questions – ask us!
  • It may not be apparent:  Every day you come home, it may not be apparent what we have accomplished.  There are a lot of behind the scene actions that take place that you may not be aware of.  We will send you an update every day of what has happened so you do not have to wonder what is happening.
  • What you see is NOT what you get:  There are specific stages to construction that you may not be aware of.  This means that during production you may look at something that looks “unfinished” or that does “not look right”.  It is important to remember that there is a process to everything we do.  We are not finished until we say we are finished which means – Trust Us – trust us that your completed project will be exactly what you asked for.
  • Pick Up List:  Near the end of the job, your project manager will have an internal “pick up list”.  Once that list is completed, we will schedule a time to meet with you to walk the project to complete any additional “pick up” items that you would like to see completed.
  • Project Completed:  Once we have completed the items on your pick up list we will ask you to walk the job with us again to verify the project is completed to your satisfaction.  At this time we will request final payments and have you sign all final release documents.
  • How did we do?  Within 30 days you will receive a phone call from Guild Quality (a 3rd party company) who completes surveys on all our services.  We ask that you take a moment to answer their questions.  Having honest feedback from our customers is imperative to understanding where we excel and where we need to focus on improvement.  Within 30 days we will also request to meet with you one final time to take “final photos” of your project for marketing purposes.

How to prepare for a home renovation

Planning for a home renovation is an exciting and potentially stressful time.  Preparing for your home renovation is imperative to ensuring you have a positive experience.  Once your contractor has given you a start date you can begin your pack- up process.  It is best if you take 2-3 days to completely pack up your existing space before the remodel begins.  The last thing you want to do is have your remodeling contractor leave on “demo” day because the house is not ready to begin work.  Here are some tips for how to prepare for your home renovation project:

Decide if you are going to stay in the home during your renovation

A home that is being remodeled is many things.  It is dusty, it is loud, and it is an inconvenience.  You may want to consider staying with a friend or family member if you are going to have a major home renovation.  Another option may be to rent an apartment or stay in a hotel for an extended stay.  Alternatively, home renovations are a great time to leave town and go on a vacation.

If you are going to stay in your house during your renovation, it will be important to decide which rooms will be yours to inhabit during the remodel.  If you have a larger family, you may need to spend some time working on a bathroom schedule.  Condensing your home to one or two rooms during a remodel can be stressful so it will be important to keep your inhabited space clean to keep stress to a minimum.

Decide where you will prepare and eat food during your renovation

Most likely if you are planning a major home renovation, you will be remodeling your kitchen.  This means you will need to decide where you will prepare your food.  Do you have space in a loft, garage, or bedroom for you to prepare meals?  Will you be eating, sleeping, and reading in the same room during your remodel?  Wherever you plan to prepare your meals, you will need to set up a small temporary kitchen.

You may find that you can not prepare your meals and eat in the same location.  If you are preparing your meals in a loft area or in a garage, will you eat in there as well?  Is it possible to eat in an office area or in the backyard?  Does everyone eat at the same time?  It will be important to plan out these details before the renovation begins to avoid making stressful last minute decisions when blood sugar is running low and children are hungry.

Decide what you will eat during your remodel

You will have no pots or pans and no dishwasher.  Eating during a renovation can prove to be complicated, especially if you are feeding a  family.  If you decide what you will eat before your remodel begins, you can properly prepare yourself as well as stock your temporary kitchen.  This is a great time to explore your family’s favorite casserole dishes or crock pot meals so you can prepare them and freeze them to eat during your remodel.

Prepare your adjacent rooms for your remodel

Prevent disaster and heartbreak by removing items from your walls.  During your remodel there will be tools used which will cause vibrations to the walls.  In addition there will be quite a bit of foot traffic in hallways from the installers, inspectors, and project managers.  For this reason, it is important to remove anything attached to the walls in the remodeled rooms as well as in adjacent rooms (including shelves, pictures, and prints).  In addition, be sure to remove any floor mats to avoid any tripping hazards.

Remodeling is incredibly dusty.  To avoid getting dust on upholstery and on knick knacks you should box up what you can, making sure to apply labels to your boxes.   Anything that can not be boxed up should be covered  with thin plastic wrap.  If you do not want to invest in plastic wrap many times customers will simply drape old sheets over their furniture as protection. Clean up will prove to be much easier if you protect the surfaces in this manner.

Have a plan for your children and animals

Kids and animals are curious by nature.  They will need to be restricted from the construction zone for their own safety.  If you have a young child who naps during the day, it will be important for you to realize construction will be continued during nap time.  It may be in your best interest to make alternative plans if your child needs a quiet space to sleep or if you have multiple children who can not be supervised continuously.

It is important to have work zones restricted from pets during your home renovation project. Pets are sometimes easily frightened by loud noises.  If your pet is easily upset you may want to consider finding care for them outside of the home during your remodel.

Prepare yourself

You home renovation project will be loud.  Your home will be dusty.  You will not always have plumbing or electricity (especially if doing a bathroom or kitchen remodel).  Your privacy will be interrupted.  Some days you will need to have a glass of wine and unload your stress.  Other times you will need to take a walk to the park or go to the movies just to get out of the construction zone.  It is okay to feel stress during your remodel.  Keep a positive attitude, trust your contractor, and understand the renovation process is temporary.  Construction is not fun, but once it is all over, you will have a beautiful new home.

How to prepare for a kitchen remodel

Once your contractor has given you a “start” date or a “demo” date, it is important that you prepare yourself for construction.  Preparation comes in many forms.  First you will need to come up with an eating plan for the duration of your project.  Second, you will need to pack up and store your current kitchen so construction can take place.  Third, you have to prepare a temporary kitchen space.  Here are some tips for how to prepare for your kitchen remodel.

Decide what types of meals you are going to eat during your remodel

Chances are you will do a mix of the following eating plans.  It is easy to fall into a rut of eating out a lot during your remodel because it is “easier”, but it is not healthier and you would be surprised to know that after a few weeks of eating out, you will actually crave home cooked food!  Plan meals around small appliances:  microwave, toaster, or toaster-oven, slow cookers, electric griddles and skillets, hot plates, and coffee makers.

Eating In Options:  

  • Prepare meals and freeze them
  • Cook frozen meals in an electric oven
  • Cook in the crock pot
  • Cook using an electric skillet
  • BBQ on the weekends

Eating Out Options

  • Sit Down Restaurants
  • Fast Food Restaurants
  • Pizza (this can get old very quickly)
  • Eat24.com is a great way to order restaurant-style food and have it delivered to your house
  • Help coordinate a family or friend potluck at someone else’s house

Tips for packing up your kitchen

  • Set up a temporary kitchen before demolition of your existing kitchen
  • Keep items that might need to be unpacked (such as seasonings) in an area that is accessible.
  • Label your boxes!
  • Relocate throw rugs which are in the pathway to the kitchen
  • Secure objects such as wall-mounted china, photos, prints, or other breakable collectibles.  These items may fall away from the wall or shelf and break during construction because of vibrations of the tools.
  • Find a secure location to keep your mail (most people keep it in the kitchen and are upset when they lose bills because their routines are disturbed during their kitchen remodel).

Create a temporary kitchen station

  • Move your old refrigerator or a small mini-fridge to a convenient space close to a water source.  Add a table with a microwave and place a trash can below the table.
  • Keep a stash of non-perishable snacks such as soups, condiments, and cereal.
  • Stock up on microwaveable frozen dinners.
  • Keep essential items handy such as paper towels, garbage bags, dishcloths, dishwasher soap, paper cups and napkins, paper plates and utensils.
  • Coffee pot:  Don’t forget your coffee pods (or filters with coffee grounds), Coffee mugs, Sugar, Cream
  • Electric Oven:  Don’t forget your oven mitts
  • Electric Skillet:  Don’t forget your spatula, cooking spoons, tongs, oven mitts, pam cooking spray
  • Crock Pot:  Don’t forget your spatula, cooking Spoons, oven mitts, pam cooking spray
  • BBQ:  Don’t forget your cookie sheet, grilling utensils, basting tools

TIP:  Small appliances such as microwaves, toasters, toaster ovens, hot plates, crock pots, and small electric grills will be immensely helpful in preparing home-cooked meals.  Just remember, the area where you set up your temporary kitchen may not be able to support multiple appliances running at the same time, not to mention other electronic items typically used in that room.  You might need to have only one thing plugged in at a time to prevent tripping the circuit breakers.

Eating Tools

You will be without water in the kitchen for a few weeks so plan to do the dishes in another sink or a bathtub.  Or stock up on disposable plates and cups, paper towels, and disinfectant cleaners.  Even if you decide to use disposable eating utensils – there are a few items you will want to make sure you have set aside for your use.

  • Wine cork screw
  • Potato peeler
  • Can opener
  • Forks, Knives, Spoons, Steak Knives
  • Tongs
  • Spatulas
  • Scissors
  • Cutting Board
  • Plastic Sandwich Bags
  • Plastic Freezer Bags
  • Trash Bags
  • 3-5 Tupperware containers with lids
  • Plastic cups or real glasses, depending on what you prefer
  • Styrofoam coffee cups or real coffee mugs, depending on what you prefer

Cleaning Tools

  • Dish soap
  • Dish towels
  • Paper towels
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • House cleaners (many homeowners keep these under the kitchen sink.  You will want these cleaners for the rest of your house during your remodel)
  • Many homeowners keep their pet food under their kitchen sink – do not forget to set that aside for your 4 legged family members.

Other tips:

Your home will not be child-proofed during your remodel so explain to little ones where they can and can not go.

If you have pets you will need to restrict their access to the construction area, especially during work hours.  If it is difficult to keep work zones sealed off, or if your pets are easily frightened for upset by loud noises, consider finding a pet sitter or care-taking facility for them, at least during work hours.

Preparing your kitchen to get remodeled should not be too daunting of a task.  If you take a few days to prepare your space, you will find the organization will help you get through the remodel easier.  Using the tips above should help alleviate some of the stress of preparing and living through your remodel.